2017 LGBT Health Forum

Lessons from the Marriage Equality Fight: Toward Full Equality and Preserving Progress in the New Political Climate

This panel will engage participants in a discussion about the marriage equality fight and the continuing struggle to achieve full LGBT rights through the Equality Act. Key players in these movements will also deliberate the road ahead in protecting the rights achieved in recent years from attack in the new social and political environment. The panel discussion will be followed by a Question and Answer session with panelist.

This panel was broadcast live and archived on C-SPAN3 and can be viewed by clicking the button on the right. This panel was also reviewed by GW Today, in their article titled "GW Forum Discusses Lessons from the Marriage Equality Fight."

Our scheduled speakers and panelists include:

Kris & Sandy



KRIS PERRY AND SANDY STIER: Perry and Stier first tried to marry in 2004 after San Francisco began issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples and ultimately became co-litigants in the Proposition 8 Supreme Court case Hollingsworth v. Perry. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Perry et al. in 2013, making same-sex marriage legal in the State of California. Kris and Sandy have been together since 1997 and are the parents of four boys. The documentary film about their case, The Case Against 8, won numerous awards, including Best Direction at the Sundance Film Festival. Kris and Sandy have just published a memoir about their experience entitled Love on Trial: Our Supreme Court Fight for the Right to Marry






JIM OBERGEFELL: Jim is the named plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark Supreme Court decision that brought marriage equality to the United States. After marrying John, his partner who was dying of ALS, they sued the state of Ohio to demand recognition of their marriage on John’s impending death certificate. An accidental activist due to circumstances, Jim is now a civil rights activist and speaker. Jim is on the Board of Advisors for the Mattachine Society of Washington, DC, an organization devoted to archive activism. Jim co-authored the book Love Wins about the lovers and lawyers in his Supreme Court case. Temple Hill Productions and Fox 2000 will produce a feature film based on the book.






WALTER DELLINGER: Walter is a highly respected authority on appellate and Supreme Court decisions. He served as Assistant Attorney General, head of the Office of Legal Counsel, and Acting Solicitor General under President Clinton. He is the author of an amicus brief in Hollingsworth v. Perry and advised Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in United States v. Windsor.  He also filed a brief for the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT groups in the landmark 2003 case of Lawrence v. Texas. Mr. Dellinger is a senior partner with O’Melveny & Myers, the Douglas B. Maggs Professor of Law at Duke University, and a frequent commentator for the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Slate, and major television networks. He was named one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal. 



Headshot of Clippinger



LUKE CLIPPINGER: Luke is one of six openly gay and lesbian members of the Maryland General Assembly.  He was the House floor leader for the marriage bill in 2012, when the legislation passed both the House and the Senate.  He was on the steering committee for the coalition of groups who led the successful fight to pass marriage equality at the ballot box in Maryland after opponents petitioned marriage to referendum. In 2014, Luke was the House sponsor of the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, legislation that extended anti-discrimination protections to gender identity. Luke works as an Assistant State's Attorney in Anne Arundel County, where he seeks justice for victims of domestic violence and property crimes. As a delegate, Luke has used that knowledge to shield those who seek protective orders against abusers. In 2015, Luke received the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault Visionary Award.






CANDIS COX: Candis is a Gender and Sexuality educator, lecturer, and advocate for the LGBTQ community in Raleigh NC, where she lives with her husband. Originally scheduled to attend law school, she instead chose to focus on becoming her authentic self, completing her gender transition in 2003. Since 2008, she has been a guest lecturer for the NC community college system and UNC college system, working to help educate students and staff on transgender, women’s, LGBTQ, and minority issues in society and the workplace. Since 2012, Candis has expanded her lectures to include numerous business and health care agencies to further increase visibility, understanding, and support for the LGBTQ community. Candis has worked with several non-profit organizations, raising money and support for LGBTQ support organizations and HIV/AIDS treatment and research groups. Currently, Candis serves on the Board of Directors for EqualityNC. She has been featured in a number of news specials, has been interviewed by news networks across the globe, and is, to date, the only transgender person to have met with former Governor Pat McCrory to discuss his anti-LGBT “bathroom bill” H.B.2. 






MARTY ROUSE: As National Field Director, Marty Rouse is tasked with mobilizing the Human Rights Campaign’s millions of members and supporters to effect change at the federal, state, and local level. Currently, Marty along with his Field team are focusing on working to defeat the onslaught of anti-LGBT bills in Texas including SB6, which is the Texas version of North Carolina’s HB2 bathroom bill. Over the past years, Marty and his team of field organizers have been on-the-ground in some capacity in each of our 50 states, mobilizing support for marriage equality, the repeal of our military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, passing local and state non-discrimination protections and fighting back against anti-LGBT legislation. Last election Marty oversaw HRC’s largest election mobilization in HRC’s history, with over 100 HRC staff deployed in a dozen states. Marty’s team continues to fight back against the marriage equality backlash, fighting against over 100 state anti-LGBT bills that were introduced in 29 states. With the results of the last year’s elections, HRC is putting plans in place to resist efforts to roll back LGBT protections at the federal and local levels, including gearing up for elections in 2018 + 2020. Before joining HRC in 2006, Marty led Mass Equality, the statewide group in Massachusetts that successfully defended marriage equality, making Massachusetts the first marriage equality state in our country. Marty lives in Maryland with his two sons, Sasha and David, who are growing too quickly



DR. STEPHEN FORSSELL, Panel Moderator: Stephen is the founding director of the graduate program in LGBT Health Policy & Practice at GWU. He is a visiting assistant professor in the Professional Psychology Program and teaches courses in Sexuality and Health in the Psychological and Brain Sciences Department, and lectures at the GWU Medical Center School of Medicine and Health Sciences.  His research, teaching, and consulting career is centered on the health LGBT populations.  Dr. Forssell also co-directs the Institute for Health Promotion in Underserved Populations at GWU. His expertise and research are in sexual orientation development, same-sex romantic relationships, child development and parenting, HIV/AIDS risk behaviors, and high risk sexual behavior interventions.  Dr. Forssell is the 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Contribution to Education and Training Award from the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues.  He has been on the faculty at GWU since 2002.